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ALLEN, TX-After six months of negotiations, MGHerring Group and Phoenix-based Global Entertainment Corp. have inked a landmark deal with the city to develop a $50-million event center in the Village at Allen. If all goes as planned, a hotel development deal will be finalized and ready to discuss next week.

Global Entertainment, armed with a hockey franchise offer, had been in talks with city officials about the 7,500-seat center for some time, but zeroed in on MGHerring’s 400-acre mixed-use project, which straddles the cities of Allen and Fairview, in January. Meanwhile, MGHerring proceeded as planned, breaking ground in March on its massive mixed-use development. “Part of our challenge was we had broken ground with our project and the retail was under way,” Gar Herring, president of the Dallas-based MGHerring Group, tells GlobeSt.com. “Incorporating a project of this magnitude was challenging to do without slowing down our development. Now, we have a solution that works for all our parties.”

City council blessed the pact last night. The agreement, now just a letter of intent, calls for the city to kick in $20 million of infrastructure and parking with MGHerring putting in $23 million up front, which will be reimbursed from an existing half-cent sales tax. The city will float a $47-million bond package to underwrite its share of the deal as owner of the event center, two proposed parking structures and all surrounding infrastructure.

“A regional event center has been on the Allen City Council’s strategic plan for many years,” Allen Mayor Stephen Terrell says in a press release. “The public-private partnership of the project will create a first-class entertainment and sports venue without creating an impact to local taxes.”

Herring says ground will break in the fourth quarter on dirt along Stacy Road, adjacent to a hotel site, office, retail and shared parking decks. The event center will be completed in late summer 2009.

Under the agreement, Global Entertainment will manage and fund operating costs for the multi-purpose center, which will host exhibits, trade shows and festivals plus feature open-rink ice skating. The project will rise 70 feet and total 160,000 sf, including 26 luxury suites, in a 100,000-sf footprint, according to Herring.

Global Entertainment has five subsidiaries involved in the project: International Coliseums Co., design and construction management; the 17-team Central Hockey League, awarding a new Double-A level franchise as the primary tenant; Encore Facility Management, secured by a multi-year agreement; and GetTix, exclusive agent for the planned 150-event calendar. Among Global’s developments is the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, NM. MGHerring’s architect, JPRA Architects of Detroit, will work on the design phase to ensure that it blends into the Village at Allen and its sister, the Village at Fairview, located at the junction of Stacy Road and US Hwy. 75.

“This is now a destination,” Herring stresses. “The trade area becomes an 80-mile trade area for visitors who wouldn’t have come otherwise.” And, he adds, Allen will be the only city in the far northern suburbs to have a facility of its type.

In a press release, Steve Bielewicz, president of subsidiary Global Properties I, says the Allen location is one of its largest markets. “The demographics of the area are compelling,” he points out, “and the willingness of the City of Allen to work with us makes this location an obvious winner.”

The Village at Allen is going up on 181 acres of MGHerring’s 400-acre stronghold. Allen’s retail component will open in October 2008 as will Fairview’s. The two mixed-use villages will have two million sf of retail, two hotels, 100,000 sf of office and 1,000 residential units. The combined build-out value exceeds $1 billion. The developer has included a privately operated trolley system for the public in its build-out plan.

Just last month, MGHerring revealed the Fairview component will include the first Gold Class Cinema in the nation. “We are adding new deals every day,” Herring says.

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